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Epistle Lectionary: MS McClean 30

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Object information

Current Location: In storage


Epistle Lectionary


Artist: Eburnant




PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Parchment, i modern parchment flyleaf + iii paper flyleaves + 154 fols. (foliated i – ii, 1 – 152) + ii paper flyleaves (the second glued to a modern parchment flyleaf), 268 x 193 (192 x 113) mm, 22 long lines, ruled in hard point, quire signatures, neums for the feasts of St Stephen and St John (fols. 7r, 7v).

BINDING: nineteenth century, gold-tooled brown leather over wooden boards, upper cover contained an inlaid Byzantine ivory plaque showing Christ Pantocrator, removed in 1911 to the Museum’s Department of Applied Arts (M. 13-1904; Goldschmidt and Weitzmann 1934, no. 148) and replaced with a black-and-white photograph

CONTENTS: fols. i verso – ii recto Jerome, Letter to Constantius; fols. 1r – 142r Readings from Acts and St Paul’s Epistles with complementary readings from the Old Testament according to the Gallican practice, Temporal and Sanctoral mixed; fols. 139r – 152v Readings for the Common of Saints, for Votive Masses and Masses for the Dead.

ORNAMENTATION: Full-page framed initials in silver and gold with foliage and interlaced tendrils sometimes terminating in animal and bird-like heads, and following text often written in gold, on purple, blue, or orange grounds for the major feasts: Vigil for Christmas (fols. 2v, 3r), Christmas (fol. 5v), Good Friday to Easter Sunday (fols. 73r, 73v – 74r), Pentecost (fols. 86v – 87r), Assumption of the Virgin (fol. 112r), All Saints (fol. 130v); identical half-page framed initial with text written in gold on purple ground for Epiphany (fol. 10r);
gold and silver unframed initials [4 – 12 ll.] on purple, blue, orange or yellow grounds for minor feasts (fols. 8v, 14r, 51r, 56v, 83v, 100r, 102r, 116r, 131v); red initials [2 – 3 ll.]; red display script in Rustic capitals.


History note: Monsieur D. Petit, no. 353 in his catalogue (inscription on fol. 1r); Jean-Baptiste-Joseph Barrois (1784 – 1855); Bertram, fourth earl of Ashburnham (1797 – 1878); Bertram, fifth earl of Ashburnham (1840 – 1913); his sale, Sotheby’s, London, 10 – 14 June 1901, lot 189; purchased by Frank McClean (1837 – 1904); his bequest, 1904.

Place(s) associated

  • Reichenau

Acquisition and important dates

Method of acquisition: Bequeathed (1904) by McClean, Frank


10th Century, second half#
Circa 960 CE - Circa 980 CE

People, subjects and objects depicted


  • Cambridge Illuminated

Components of the work

Support composed of parchment

Materials used in production


Techniques used in production


Inscription or legends present

  • Text: manu domini tui
  • Location: Fol. 4r
  • Type: Secundo folio

References and bibliographic entries

Related exhibitions

Identification numbers

Accession number: MS McClean 30
Primary reference Number: 170699
Project ID: 15
Stable URI

Audit data

Created: Saturday 6 August 2011 Updated: Monday 17 July 2023 Last processed: Thursday 7 December 2023

Associated departments & institutions

Owner or interested party: The Fitzwilliam Museum
Associated department: Manuscripts and Printed Books

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The Fitzwilliam Museum (2024) "Epistle Lectionary" Web page available at: Accessed: 2024-04-22 07:04:53

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{{cite web|url= |title=Epistle Lectionary |author=The Fitzwilliam Museum|accessdate=2024-04-22 07:04:53|publisher=The University of Cambridge}}

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